Mustard called up for Sri Lanka tour
The Durham wicketkeeper, Phil Mustard, has been called up for England's forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka, after Matt Prior was forced to pull out with a fractured thumb, sustained during practice on the eve of England's Twenty20 defeat against New Zealand at Durban.
Mustard, 24, has been in prime form as an attacking batsman and wicketkeeper during Durham's outstanding domestic campaign, in which they have earned promotion from Division Two of the Pro40, well as emerging victorious against Hampshire in the final of the Friends Provident Trophy.
Mustard starred with 49 in that final, and has scored 893 one-day runs this season at an average of 49.61. He will fly out to Sri Lanka on Sunday, and so could still play in Durham's final Championship match, against Kent at Canterbury, where a victory could yet secure them the title.
"Phil has been in outstanding form for his county this season," said England's chairman of selectors, David Graveney. "He has experience of opening the innings in domestic one-day cricket, and this is an excellent opportunity for him to test himself at a higher level."
For Prior, the injury could not come at a worse time, after his recent omission from England's list of centrally contracted players for 2007-08. The message from the selectors is that the wicketkeeping berth is up for grabs. Mustard now has at least five matches in which to stake his claim.
"Phil has played some fantastic cricket this year and fully deserves his call-up," said David Harker, Durham's chief executive. "He has a no-nonsense approach to his keeping and batting which I'm sure will translate well in the international arena.
"His call-up represents another feather in the cap of Durham County Cricket Club and our Academy system," added Harker. "Not only have we had our most successful season on record, but Phil will be our fourth home-grown player to represent England in the last 12 months."